135 B- POLEVOI had been interrupted by the war was maturing more and more. He read those lines with longing and anxiety, knowing that he had no right to reciprocate. Schoolmates, who had attended the apprenticeship school at the sawmill together, they had been filled with romantic sentiments which they had called love just to imitate grownups. Later, they had parted for six or seven years. First the girl went away to study at the technical school. When she returned to the sawmill as a mechanic, Alexei had already left the town and was studying at the aviation school. They met again just before the outbreak of the war. Neither had sought that meeting, and they had probably even forgotten each other—so much water had flowed under the bridge since their part- ing. One evening Alexei was in the street accompanying his mother somewhere and a girl passed them. He paid no attention to the girl except that he noticed that she had well-shaped legs. "Why didn't you greet the girl? It was Olya!" his mother reproved him, mentioning the girl's surname. Alexei looked back. The girl too had turned round to look back. Their eyes met and Alexei felt his heart skip. Leaving his mother, he ran towards the girl, who had halted under a bare poplar-tree. "You?" he exclaimed in surprise, looking at her as if she were a rare and beautiful creature from overseas who had in some strange way appeared in this quiet, muddy street on this spring evening. "Alyosha?" exclaimed the girl in the same surprised and incredulous tone. They saw each other for the first time after a separa- tion of six or seven years. Alexei saw before him a girl of miniature proportions, a graceful and supple figure with a pretty, round, boyish face and a few golden freckles on the bridge of her nose. She looked at him with large, grey, sparkling eyes, slightly raising her softly traced eyebrows that were somewhat bushy at the ends. There was little about this fresh, graceful girl of the sturdy, round-faced, rosy-cheeked, rather rough child, walking proudly in her father's greasy jacket with the sleeves rolled up, that she had been at the time they had last met at the apprenticeship school.